The second annual Youth Conference saw some changes in 2019, starting with a new name to the Young Member Summit (YMS). The second change was that Member Programs Manager, Kelsey Logan, was not able to attend due to her expecting a baby too close to the Convention dates. So, on Wednesday, July 17, Darcy Hilton and Shannon Daugherty registered 22 young members to the XXIX National Convention’s Young Member Summit. The YMS consisted of 4 boys and 18 girls ranging from ages 11 to 21. The first activity was on Thursday morning when we met in the Ball Room to receive flag assignments for the opening ceremonies of the Convention. After the flag ceremony, we headed to the Auditorium where we would made our home for the next day and a half. Starting with introductions and an ice breaker game, the YMS was off to a good start. Next on the agenda was a planned service project at Paul’s Pantry in downtown Green Bay. Paul’s Pantry is an emergency food pantry that provides families with enough food every week, for as long as needed, so they may use their food dollars for shelter, utilities, and other necessities to avoid becoming homeless. Our youth group was tasked with the job of filling small baggies full of sugar from 50 pound bags of sugar. YMS attendees were given a tour of the facility during time there, then they resumed their work and cleaned up after the shift was over. After the service project, they headed back to the hotel for lunch and a photo of the whole group.
Once they were settled back into the Auditorium, the YMS broke into small groups for brainstorming and discussion. These sessions included conversations about their favorite volunteer, social, or community projects. Once the small groups were finished with their discussions, they came together to share their ideas and encourage one another on how to implement new ideas for the individual lodges to try. The YMS came up with ten action items that consisted of ways to help the lodges stay relevant and continue to improve. All information was organized into speeches that the youth volunteered to share the next morning in front of the delegates. With the speeches written, the YMS were released to join their families for the evening’s festivities.
Friday morning they gathered back in the Auditorium to practice for time in front of the Convention, then headed to the Ballroom to address the delegates. Madalyn started off with the need for more social media presence in the lodges to reach a younger crowd. Stacie suggested YELL! groups could be more structured like lodge meetings to make them more official. For example, having officers and meeting while lodges have their meetings. Sarah would like more fun at meetings to attract a wider range of people and more service projects to be a part of. Christa mentioned having more events and trips geared towards a younger crowd to recruit more members. She suggested more promotion of all the community service lodges offer because the National Honor Society requires volunteer hours and college scholarship applications view community service in a favorable light. Rachel thinks it would be a good idea to recruit youth by promoting at their schools through social media, fliers, and word-of-mouth. She also feels like the term “lodge” should be changed to something more appealing to the younger generation. Izzy suggested allowing younger people in the YMS and Convention since the goal is to get a younger generation involved. Christy mentioned doing day camps for youth with a community service project. It would be advertised in parades and festivals ahead of time. The purpose would be to recruit young people and give them a glimpse of how Western helps the community and still has fun. Haily said that Western should improve their promotion of events. Better communication would insure more in attendance and help us reach a broader audience. She also suggested lodge funds be used in a more economical way to get the best use of money. Lexie would like to see more youth involved in decisions lodges make. They love to serve at lodge functions, but would like the opportunity to serve as officers to encourage the youth not only to volunteer, but to lead as well. After the speeches, the YMS stayed to listen to Convention panel discussions before heading off to set up for Kids Against Hunger.
Attendees assembled boxes, loaded bags of rice, protein powder, and vegetable mix. Some youth showed others how to set up their tables and made sure everyone had hair nets and gloves. All YMS attendees participated by mixing, sealing, and packing bags of food, and many stayed past their initial shift to continue to help others. Once the service project was over, the YMS came to an end to wrap up another successful youth Convention.
We would like to express our gratitude to the Young Member Summit (YMS) for their participation at the XXIX Convention. From the beginning, we were impressed with their drive to learn and willingness to be an active part of the YMS and Association. Attendees were eager to contribute during the brainstorming sessions and excited to share their ideas with the delegates. There were two service projects we participated in, Pauls’ Pantry and Kids Against Hunger. While at Paul’s Pantry, the youth jumped right in to serve, eager to help wherever they were needed. During the Kids Against Hunger service project, the YMS went above and beyond to help attendees pack food for starving children. Their energy and enthusiasm kept spirits high and the service project on task.
Also, a special thanks to the parents, guardians, chaperones, and others who made this trip possible for the YMS attendees. Without your support of time, money, and transportation, this would not have been a successful event. Because of these fantastic young members, our Association has great hope for the future.
Darcy Hilton and Shannon Daugherty
Jonathan Fiala, No. 253, Hamill, SD
Chelsea Backous, No. 253, Hamill, SD
Valerie Hosek, No. 426, Lincoln, NE
Chase Unruh, No. 222, Malin, OR
Alexandrea Ladiski, No. 225, Bannister, MI
Alyse Ladiski, No. 225, Bannister, MI
Jaxon Ladiski, No. 225, Bannister
Madalyn Horak, No. 225, Bannister, MI
Christy Sopocy, No. 225, Bannister, MI
Emily Sopocy, No. 225, Bannister, MI
Mary Sopocy, No. 225, Bannister, MI
Gary Andrews, No. 225, Bannister, MI
Christa Fornusek, No. 225, Bannister, MI
Rachel Fornusek, No. 225, Bannister, MI
Gwynn Ketola, No. 225, Bannister, MI
Stacie Bush, No. 225, Bannister, MI
Meggan Andrews, No. 225, Bannister, MI
Naomi Vacura, No. 153, Jennings, KS
Haily Wade, No. 222, Malin, OR
Tre Vozenilek, No. 446, Dorchester, TX
Sarah Marmolejo, No. 109, Oklahoma City, OK
Isabella Marmolejo, No. 109, Oklahoma City, OK
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